Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas >> Part IV — Scene IV >> Page 22

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Page 22

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
Transcription 22 Michael Bonham : or, the Fall of Bexar.

Pedro, [draws hire aside.] It cannot be too soon for my hurt honor;
His shadow chills my path. He stands between My heart and all its sunshine.
Canales. Take your sleep
His shadow will be less before to-morrow !
The sun that sets for him, shall use for you ;
He troubles you no longer.
Pedro, [giving money.] Be this the earnest
Of that which follows when the deed is done.
Canales. Account it done.
[Exit Bravo who is thence seen to hang upon the footsteps of Bonham.
Pedro. Then shall I sleep . . . . and thou,
My proud and powerful enemy,—thou too
Shalt take thy sleep in death, accursed foe !
The first to teach inc what it is to tremble
With loss of hope in love, and loss of faith,
In mine own weapon. Be tie earth upon thee Before the smiling sunlight blesses earth.
[Exit Pedro.
Bonham Advances.
Bonham. She fails me—and the hours are waning fast : Should Milarn fail me too.
Enter Crockett.
Ah! my dear comrade.-
Crockett. Major, this is famous fine. My head is a swimruirlg fairly in the blaze of glory, jest as it used to swim when I looked on old Hickory's. It's wonderful handsome. I never seed the thing better done at the White House, even in Van's day, when Ogle got frightened at the gold spoons. Lord, what a shine of dresses. There's gold and silver enough about 'ern to build a church, not leaving out the steeple. And look at the diamonds ; I reckon, Major, them's the ra'al grit, jest sich as we'll git out of the gold mines if we ever git into them.
Bonham. In truth, good comrade, there is much to
Such simple eyes as ours. But we've a purpose That must not suffer mind or thought to wander From the great duty we have here in hand.
Let not the brightness blind you to the loss
Of proper prudence. See, and smile, and idle,
As the mood prompts you ; but beware of speech. You're a Comanche and a warrior comrade
No more a politician. Let your speeches
Be only in your actions. For the warrior
Blows are the proper language; swords and rifles The proper parts of speech. Our eloquence
We will deliver, with due voice, in season,
Through our shrill bugles. Once more be counselled; Keen eyes, even now, are watching us—we must not Again be seen together, 'till the moment
When we must work together. Now leave me
And keep aloof with caution. If you will speak, Choose you some uncouth Indian dialect,
Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, or Creek,
Either will suit the habit that you wear ;
Say little even then. Would you make love,
'Tis but to sign with fingers on the lip,
Sigh hoarsely as a savage might, and mutter
With something of a panther's tenderness,
Whom the fit seizes 'twixt his sleep and supper. Enough! and now let's separate.
Crockett. Right, Major.
You're always right. We'll make different tracks, then, And hunt our game apart.
[Exit Crockett.
Bonham. [Solus.] I see her not. I know not why it is, But something seems to speak of treachery,
As if a busy tongue beside mine ears
Kept ever more one croaking chaunt of evil. But who comes here ? so gallant in attire, like a proud vessel with her full sails set, And the gay streamers, from her lofty tops, Coying with heaven's own breezes.
Enter Donna Maria as the princess Papanttin. [Bonham recedes at her approach.
Maria. You fly me, father.
Bonham. Not so, fair princess. I but shrink in wonder At such a vision.
Maria. You do injustice
To the most holy vestments that you wear, To shrink from mortal sovereign.
Bonham. But, if true,
The lesson that were taught me, you are not A mortal sovereign, Lady. If I err not,
You rank among that royal race, which perish'd In Mexico three hundred years ago,—The race of Montezuma.
Maria. You have read
Our story but imperfectly : the race
Of Montezuma perish'd ; but one Princess Survived, in state of trance, and still survives. Bonham. Princess Pupantziu!
Maria. The same, good father ;
And, by the virtue of that sacred trance,
Which keeps her spell'd by sleep, alternate seasons, She reads your secret.
Bonham. What secret, Princess ?
Maria. The heart that beats beneath that peaceful habit Is scarce so peaceful !
Bonham. In your spells alone,
Lies the deep guilt of its inquietude.
Maria. Could I believe it, Senor. 'Neath that cowl The soldier's front is hid. That garb conceals The Cavalier, whose brave but callous heart Could rescue beauty from the savage arm, Yet fling it from his own.
Bonham. You wrong me, Lady.
You do not know this heart.
Maria. Oh, would I did.
Bonham. And why the wish ?
Maria. Ah, vain, cold tyrant, man! \Vould'st force me to confession? Must 1 bend, And, spite of maiden modesty and shame, Lay my fond bosom bare. The simple wish, Speaks the heart's secret.
Bonham. This habit, noble Princess! Your royal state—your ancient family—The wondrous mystery of your own repose,
Three hundred years in life, yet blessed with youth, And beauty—as I doubt not—to this hour,—Are each enough to guard me from the sin Of the poor vanity, such as, in your thought, Has triumph'd over mine.
Maria. No more ! No more !
I am no Princess, Atnador—and you
No monk ! No monk ! I am a woman,—fill'd With all her passions and infirmities—Loving as woman seldom loves, and freeing, Before the man she loves, her secret boson], As tame and common love could never free it! Your arm has saved my life ; and in that triumph Achieved another. Look upon your conq nest, And trample on it with your eyes ofscorn, Cr lift it with your love. [Lifts her mask.]
Bonham. Donna Maria!
Maria. Ay, Senor
The proudest heart that beat in Mexico,